Creating the Perfect Backyard Retreat: A Willow Glen Client’s Story


Step into a realm where the ordinary dissolves, and the extraordinary unfolds—an exploration into “Creating the Perfect Backyard Retreat.” Here at Julie Orr Design, it’s more than a process; it’s a personalized, collaborative journey. We transform visions into reality by actively involving clients, crafting spaces that resonate with the unique dreams and needs of those who call them their own.

Join us as we explore the Houlihan family’s backyard retreat journey in Willow Glen with Julie Orr Design, showcasing the transformative power of collaboration. Each decision mirrors our expertise and the client’s aspirations. Experience the artistry behind crafting the perfect backyard retreat and its enduring impact on living.

Meet the Client: Their Vision and Challenges

Meet the Houlihan family, a charming unit with two little daughters and a furry companion, a Bernadoodle, yearning for more than just a backyard—a personalized haven for dining, relaxation, and family movie nights.

Their vision sparked the challenge of transforming a limited space into a versatile retreat that resonates with their lifestyle. Navigating existing elements like pavers, water features, and the removal of unruly palm trees posed intricate challenges. Understanding the family’s unique needs was paramount, leading to a tailored design solution that seamlessly incorporated shade, a spacious dining area, a TV wall with a fireplace, and a dedicated space for food preparation. Notably, with a spit BBQ grill already in place, the design adapted with a simple kitchen, highlighting the essence of a personalized approach that embraces and enhances the client’s existing lifestyle.

Collaborative Design Process

At Pergolas by Julie, we’re passionate about collaborative design. With expertise in Interior and Landscape Design, we create personalized outdoor spaces that bring clients’ visions to life. Our process combines beauty and functionality for a harmonious result that will be cherished for years. Allow us to take you through our design process:
  • Define goals and vision: Engage in discussions to understand the goals, purpose, and desired features of the backyard retreat. Document specific themes or styles that resonate with the client’s unique dreams and needs.
  • Research and gather inspiration: Conduct extensive research to gather inspiration and ideas for the backyard design. Explore various sources such as magazines, websites, and local gardens to fuel creativity.
  • Brainstorm and sketch: Facilitate a collaborative brainstorming session where all stakeholders can contribute their ideas. Encourage participants to sketch their visions, allowing for diverse perspectives and creative exploration.
  • Prioritize and refine: Review all the ideas and sketches generated during the brainstorming session. Prioritize elements that align with the goals and vision identified earlier. Refine concepts by combining and modifying ideas to create a cohesive design.
  • Consult with professionals and develop a detailed plan: Seek guidance from experienced professionals, such as landscape contractors, to develop a comprehensive budgeting. Together, create a detailed plan of action that encompasses concepts, materials, plant choices, and construction/installation needs.

Bringing the Pergola to Life

At Pergolas by Julie, our dedication to collaborative design goes beyond goal-setting, we craft custom specific pergola solutions that ensures a seamless transition from concept to reality. This commitment to excellence, creativity, and functionality guarantees a final design that exceeds expectations, providing a timeless retreat cherished for years to come.


In the heart of this real client case study lies the successful transformation of a Willow Glen backyard retreat. We could not have done it without the talent and craftsmanship of SouthBay Design and Landscaping who provided the installation.

Imagine the possibilities for your own outdoor space—Julie Orr Design is ready to turn your vision into reality.

Want to start now your backyard oasis journey? Visit here for more. Take the first step by reaching out for a consultation or find more inspiration on the website. Curious about pergolas?  You can visit our website at Pergolas By Julie.